JERSEY SHORE - Borough council is looking to hike real estate taxes 2 mills as a means of plugging a $252,000 deficit in next year's budget.
Council will meet Dec. 26 to consider and likely approve a $1.9 million spending plan.
"It's not going to go over well. I can tell you that," said Borough Manager Joseph Hamm.
A 2-mill tax increase would mean an additional $200 per year for a property owner for a home with an assessed value of $100,000.
About 86 percent of properties in Jersey Shore fall under that assessed value, according to Hamm.
"Most people will see an increase of between $150 and $200," he added.
Councilman John Pisarcik, a member of the finance committee, said he hates to see increased taxes, but the borough has little choice in the matter.
For years the borough relied on sewage funds to help balance the budget, he noted.
That's no longer the case.
The formation of the Tiadaghton Valley Regional Authority changed that.
"This year is the first year they (borough) don't have the sewer fund," Hamm said. "All assets are now with the Tiadaghton Valley Municipal Authority. As of July 25, all assets from borough got transferred over to the Authority."
For years Jersey Shore has operated its own sewage treatment plant, an aging facility in the borough.
However, an authority was needed in order to build a new plant to accept sewage from Jersey Shore and Porter and Nippenose townships, Pisarcik noted.
"The bottom line is where are we supposed to get the money?" asked Councilman Kenneth Scheesley.
Council held several budget meetings in recent weeks to consider that very matter.
Hamm noted that the borough's share for police protection takes a big cut from the budget.
Jersey Shore and Porter Township split funding for the Tiadaghton Valley Regional Police Department with the borough paying $586,815, or 70 percent.
Pisarcik said the borough's allocation should only be 68 percent.
"We need to count every dollar," he said.
Council is looking to cut dollars from a number of areas, including a big bite from its recreation budget.
Under the proposed spending plan, funding for summer recreation programs would be cut from $16,500 to $8,250.
Library funding is set to be slashed from $12,550 to $6,275.
And, a number of part-time workers in the Public Works Department are expected to receive pink slips.
"We are cutting everywhere," Pisarcik said.
Scheesley said the grim reality is the borough is out of money and has no choice but to raise taxes and eliminate services.
"Every single thing we do will save money," he said.
Pisarcik said if passed the tax hike will be the borough's first in about 10 years.